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Relative: rumors in Donofrio disappearance untrue

Published: Fri, October 21, 2011 @ 12:06 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern



The family of James Donofrio has not given up on finding the missing Boardman businessman.

“We would love to find him. ... We are following anything that gives us a thread of hope,” said Nancy Donofrio, Jim’s sister-in-law.

Nancy said Thursday that rumors have been swirling since Donofrio’s Sept. 25 disappearance that his restaurant, the Avalon Gardens on Belmont Avenue, is in financial trouble or closed.

“The business is a longtime established pizza place. ... Rumor has been that people are saying it’s closed, and it’s not. It has stayed open,” Nancy said, adding that Donofrio, who worked for more than 25 years in leasing at the Edward J. DeBartolo Corp., had “a very good head for business.”

The restaurant’s success is “paramount to [Roseanne Donofrio’s] survival,” Nancy said, referring to Donofrio’s wife.

Donofrio was reported missing after he did not arrive to close the restaurant Sept. 25.

A lack of evidence has stymied an investigation by law enforcement.

“We’re trying to develop leads. We’re working with the FBI who are doing electronic research through some sources,” said Youngstown Police Chief Rod Foley. The chief declined to give more information on that aspect of the case.

“Unfortunately, nothing has come up for us to offer to the families,” Foley said.

Special Agent Vicki Anderson, of the Cleveland FBI office, said the agency is aware of the case.

“Currently, there’s no evidence of foul play. If evidence is collected of foul play or there is any indication of foul play, we have extended an offer to help local law enforcement,” she said.

Nancy said she does not believe Jim would just walk away on his own.

“My brother-in-law would not walk away from his family. If he walked away from his family then I guarantee he doesn’t know who he is,” she said.

Jim suffered a severe head injury several years ago, Nancy said, and the family has received a medical opinion indicating “that if he did take another blow to the head, he could easily be walking around and have no idea who he is.”

When asked if Donofrio had enemies, Nancy said “That remains to be seen” and said right now, no evidence supports that.


1Pyroc(136 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I was at "The Av" last night to see the wonderful Jazz group "The John Reese Project". The Pizza there is still the best in town.

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2Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Pycoc I got two pizza's there a couple of weeks ago that were the worst I have ever gotten from there.

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3lefty83(313 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Down in carolina,i hear he borrowed money from certain ties that just don't lend money scott free.Hope not.

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4palefoot(35 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Would like to see more pictures of him in the Vindy. Keep his face fresh in the minds of people in the valley and those from out of town that read it online.

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5Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

In Youngstown when nothing changes then nothing changes . James Donofrio didn't just vanish on his own . It is time for another sweep of The Valley . Shake the bushes and the evidence will drop out .

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6kensgirl(1056 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

How cruel can you people be? A man is missing and there is a family devastated. God bless the Donofrio family and God speed Mr. Donofrio's return.

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7dees2cents(38 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I could not imagine,nor would I ever want to feel the lost, uncertainty and fear that this family has right now.
Not knowing what happened or where he is has to torment them and consume every minute of their day.
God Speed !

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8Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I suspect a repetition of the past . Charlie "The Crab" Carabbia had vanished during days gone by never to be seen again . The victim of the powers of the time . Has James Donofrio met the same fate ? Who were his friends and business contacts ?


Yet the most frightening method, the one that captured the city's
imagination, was the most immaculate: the disappearance of people in
broad daylight. They were the city's ghosts. Police found their
cars empty on the side of the street, the engines still warm, or
their dinner tables still piled with food.

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9DwightK(1535 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

It wouldn't be Youngstown if people didn't gossip about what they've "heard".

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10southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

We all pray that this man returns safely to his family!

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11uetz(38 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

he was having a midlife crisis, found a younger woman, and wanted to get away from all the drama

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12kensgirl(1056 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

To uetz - I'm sure the Donofrio really appreciated your comment. Hopefully this trauma will never happen to your family. I can't imagine the pain they are feeling. You better watch your venomous tongue. Karma's a bitch.

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13Leana(5 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I am one of those family members and no, we do not appreciate those comments. We all love James and want him home. I just hope that eventually someone will come forward with some useful information.

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